Who Is Responsible For Mould In Rentals- Tenant Or Landlord?

Chaps, remember a couple of months ago, all the way back in gloomy January 2015, when I publicly broke down into a hysterical heap of oestrogen and wrote an emotional blog post about my personal battle with old age, and specifically how my symptoms were aggressively starting to surface? The tell-tale signs being the sudden and excessive growth of nostril hairs, which I’m regularly having to ‘maintain’, and a mortifying habit of listening to that absurd talk-show radio station LBC, which accumulates an audience with the average age of fossilised dinosaur shit (no offence if you’re an avid listener)?

God damn, that was a bleak winter.

I should add that somewhere buried with in the post, among my panic and disarray, exists useful information on tenants suing their landlords for disrepair (so it wasn’t just a dramatic ‘Dear Diary’ moment), which stemmed from ‘The Legal Hour’, a feature on LBC, hosted by Clive Bull and co-hosted by LBC’s resident Barrister Daniel Barnett, every Wednesday night. It’s a delicate slot where listeners’ can call in for free legal advice.

I know! What kind of person would tune into that on a Wednesday night, right? I agree. I’m pathetic. But besides from the numbing reality of my dreary life, Daniel offered some sensible advice on the matter, for both landlords and tenants, and that’s why I felt compelled to share the sound-byte.

You remember, right?

Well, tragically, my nostril hairs are still swinging by my ankles (when I allow them to grow out a little) and the default station tuned into my car is still LBC. Those are Demons I’ve yet to conquer, so in the mean time, my nostril hairs are firmly being tucked into my socks along with my humongous pecker, and I’m still frequently catching glimpses of ‘the legal hour’. Perhaps I should just embrace what I have become.

Tenant complains about mould

So there I was again, driving home on a Wednesday night, tuned in with reluctant interest…

A disgruntled tenant stepped up and made the call into LBC’s headquarters, seeking Daniel’s pearls of wisdom. She complained that her, I quote, “completely useless landlord” was responsible for a nasty little mould outbreak, but she was unfairly being held responsible for the chaos.

The general gist of the story is that the tenant was given notice by her landlord. Then, from what I understood, the tenant notified the letting agent managing the property, of a mould infestation that’s sucking the life out of the living room. The agent informed the tenant that she needs to “make good of the decor” before she vacates because the growth is her fault, because she failed to heat the property adequately (how the agent knew that remains a mystery). The tenant stepped forward with her defence by insisting she purchased extra heaters for the property.

So the million dollar question, who’s the asshole responsible for the mess, the landlord or the tenant?

Under these extremely common circumstances, both parties usually wag their crusty erections at one another, pointing blame, calling one another every name under the sun. So if you’re in that unfortunate situation, perhaps I can offer some clarity by relaying the advice given.

Listen to the Barrister explain who is responsible…

If you’re currently at work, notify your dead-beat boss that you’re taking a well-deserved 5 minute time-out so you can listen to the following sound-byte. If you’re fortunate enough to be in the hot seat, perhaps you should huddle your employees together and make a communal fuss over it (yes, even if they couldn’t give a shit and if your company has nothing to do with letting).

Once again, Daniel unloaded some good insight…


(This was aired on the 11th of February 2015)

The key takeaways

For those of you who who couldn’t listen, for whatever inexcusable reason that I’ll never accept, here’s the breakdown of what was said…

  • Tricky to blame the landlord
    The issue of mould is generally a tricky situation because normally landlords are legally responsible for everything to do with the basic build of the house, including the walls, but the responsibility for damp and mould is slightly different.
  • When landlords are responsible for mould
    Landlords are generally responsible for damp if it’s caused by leaky pipes, structural defects or a damp proof course going wrong.
  • When tenants are responsible for mould
    The tenant is responsible if it’s caused by condensation because of lack of ventilation, like not opening windows or inadequate heating.
  • Difficult to prove
    This is the key point.

    It’s always going to be very, very difficult to prove whether the mould was caused by inadequate heating or something else without getting an official assessment from a damp expert.

    On a sidenote, what an odd profession, a “damp expert” – I wonder who you have to sleep with to be a qualified one of those. I’ll do it. My C.V is so lifeless.

  • The deposit
    If it’s not obvious that the mould was caused by a leak or structural damage, then it’s most likely that the reason is due to the temperate not being adequately controlled by the tenant, consequently the cost of redecorating can be deducted from the tenant’s deposit.
  • Up to the tenant to prove innocence
    Rightly or wrongly so, it’s up to the tenant to prove the cause of the mould, because on the face of it, if there isn’t an obvious leak or any another obvious cause, the most likely explanation is lack of ventilation. That’s the most common cause for mould.

    If the tenant obtains a written report from a damp expert, stating that the problem isn’t caused by heating or ventilation and it’s actually because of a structural defect, then the landlord will most likely be held responsible.

  • Disputes and the tenancy deposit scheme
    If the tenant disputes the claim and wants to refuse the landlord from using the deposit to resolve the mould issue, the tenant can notify the tenancy deposit scheme in which the deposit is being held. The case will then be assessed by an internal arbitration scheme. But the problem with that is, the absence of evidence will suggest that the most likely cause is ventilation or heating.

Makes perfect sense to me, and it’s the way I’ve always believed the situation to be.

I’m no stranger to mould!

I suppose I should indulge a little and make this post partially about myself, otherwise it’s just rubbish.

The reason this particular subject perked my interest was because I’ve dealt with filthy tenants and mould back in 2013, which some of you may remember, so it’s an issue near and dear to my cold, bloody heart. But also, I know how controversial and grey the issue can be, so any enlightenment from someone qualified is always valuable.

But unlike the average mould related story, my dippy asshole tenants, husband and wife duo, took stupidity to the next level. They thought it would be an ingenious idea to paint over a series of mould infestations in an attempt to mask and presumably cure the problem before they vacated. Clearly not the brightest idea, not to mention extremely dangerous. In fact, it’s probably the worst idea created by mankind. Ever.

To cut a long and painful story short’ish (I’ll inevitably ramble on), my tenants fell into arrears so I shoved a shiny eviction notice down their gonorrhea-infected throats. Like most bitter and delusional tenants that are incapable of accepting responsibility for their own actions, they instinctively took warmly to playing the role of the victims and acted like I was the bad guy.

The mean landlord was kicking them out for falling into arrears. How dare he?

There were a few unpleasant exchanges, but they eventually vacated the property. Extremely reluctantly, of course. So the next natural step was to inspect the property– something I wasn’t looking forward to given the circumstances. I scoured the property top-to-bottom, with my U.V head-lamp and magnifying glass, just in case they spunked all over the walls in a volatile act of revenge. Perhaps a ploy a little too creative and colourful for their limited capabilities, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. They may have received outside help from a sharper mind, like a lump of dirt from the back garden.

Fortunately, the vicinity was a spunk-free zone, but it was devastatingly substituted by copious amounts of mould, which was smeared all over the bedroom and bathroom walls, unconvincingly hidden under a fresh coat of paint they had applied. On a sidenote, “amateur” sums up their efforts at best.

After stripping away the new layer of paint, this is what I was left with…

mold

Hideous, right? They blissfully stewed away in that confinement like a couple of diseased sewer rats.

I have a couple of cute chickens roaming around in my garden, but their downfall is how unbelievably filthy they are. They literally crap their pants all day long, in every possible variation; liquefied, solid, and often somewhere in the middle. They’ll also crap anywhere, they don’t care, literally everywhere, even on themselves, and they’ll happily stroll around with crusty, one-week-old faeces strapped onto their feet/legs. It’s repulsive.

What’s my point? Well, I don’t really have a good one, but they remind me of my tenants.

In my haste and under utter disgust, I immediately contacted my tenant…

There’s mould all over the walls, what happened? Why didn’t you tell me?

I tried contacting you about the mould problem many times. I have been sick because of the mould and so has my family. My solicitor will be in touch with you.

Urgh.

While the response wasn’t entirely surprising – because after all, I was dealing with a pair of fools that could be mentally challenged by a dry roasted peanut- I was still momentarily disabled by his continuous wrath of stupidity and audacity. Nothing phased him, he kept going like the Terminator.

Firstly, he didn’t try to contact me about the mould issue, not once. I would have addressed the issue immediately because I realise how dangerous mould can be, and also how expensive infestations can quickly become if they aren’t dealt with quickly. It would have been in my best interest to squash the issue ASAP. Secondly, he didn’t have a pot to piss in; he had debts coming out of his eyeballs; he didn’t even have the funds to call a Solicitor, let alone appoint one to fight a fictitious case with fictitious evidence to support his fictitious claim(s). Lying tossor.

Sadly, my tenants were adamant it was my fault. But either way, despite who’s at fault, wouldn’t any normal being try to remove the mould as soon as it was visible, as opposed to allowing it to spread so aggressively? Granted, I’m not qualified to diagnose anyone with being clinically retarded, but they are genuinely twisted folk. I said it.

I’ve had the property for 7’ish years; I’ve had two tenants in the property before them and one since, and there have been NO signs or complaints of mould. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to unravel what was going on there.

From my limited experience, most mould related issues in rental properties are caused by living habits/lifestyle, and not through structural defects, just like the Barrister said. Of course, I’m not saying landlords are never to blame, they are. However, it’s a sad fact of life that many people don’t realise how important ventilating is, especially in kitchens and bathrooms where moisture is commonly flourishing. In my particular case, I’m pretty certain my tenants dried their shitty wet clothes on the radiators and didn’t bother opening any windows. Needless to say, that’s a dangerous cocktail to ensure buckets of healthy and active mould-sex.

I never did hear from their solicitor. Unsolved mystery. Right.

Anyways, I don’t want to further distract from the useful information Daniel provided with my woes.

If you’re experiencing mould growth it might be worth going back in time and reading over my mould related nightmares if you want more information on how to prevent/remove mould. I think it’s important to note how critical it is for landlords to take precautions to prevent mould (e.g. install extractors, use anti-mould paint etc) and not simply rely on tenants to utilise common sense (that’s a recipe for disaster). I learnt that the hard way.

Anyone got any hideous mouldy stories to share with me? If so, grab the mic and let’s do this like it’s 1999…

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144 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 94 - 144 comments (out of 144)
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Terry 4th November, 2015 @ 16:09

I'd also like to suggest that in the pictures you posted, the mold on the clothing, makes it seem very likely that said clothing articles were part of the laundry drying on the radiators. Perhaps this using the flat to dry wet laundry without ventilation is an important factor in this problem?

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The Landlord 4th November, 2015 @ 16:42

@Terry
Gotta' agree with you. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle, where both parties are partially responsible, that's why I believe it's better if Michael focuses his energy on terminating the tenancy as opposed to trying to claim compensation. The latter is going to be a long-drawn affair, and the end result may not even seem worth it.

Mould is always a grey area because there are so many potential variables.

Anyways, since he is seeking compensation, my only advise to him is build a solid case and then take legal action.

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Zetita 4th November, 2015 @ 18:07

Michael, I wasn't talking about you specifically. And GOSH I hope i don't EVER have a landlord like Emma or Nige. Terrible idiots, the poor souls.

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emma6 4th November, 2015 @ 18:27

Manners, Zetita.

No one else here is calling people names.

Behaviours, such as drying your clothes on a radiator with the window shut, can be idiotic (as you pointed out), but people are people, with feelings, whether you agree with their comments or not.

Kindly apologise to both me and Nigel, because throwing around insults is neither helpful nor becoming.

For the record, I hope I never have a tenant like you, either. Have a nice day.

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Nige 4th November, 2015 @ 19:24

Thank you Zitita. Just dont apply to me for a tenancy when living in your cardboard box.

So I have a question for all the negative posters.

Given the fact that there are quite a few different types of construction ranging from timber framed to solid wall and cavity wall to screeded conblocks.

If you as a tenant owned the property instead of renting exactly what would you do to prevent the mould happening in YOUR property. Would you complain to the council ? Hmm/
Write a letter to yourself . HMMM

My property is exactly the same construction As all the properties I rent. That is post 1980. Standard cavity wall with tile roof . Insulation in the walls. Maximum insulation in my roof. Gas radiator heating . In fact my boiler in my house is the oldest of all my properties.

My total power usage (gas/electric) on my slightly bigger house costs 100 pounds per month direct debit.
To my knowledge that is the lowest power usage of any of my properties.

When I was younger I lived in a house built of brick with no cavity wall, no insulation and no fancy heating system. I can never ever remember mould forming on any walls nor can I remember anyone complaining about it.
I do remember washing lines though. I do remember ice on the insides of windows as a kid because we didn't have double glazing.

What people dont realise is how much condensation we create. Tie a polythene bag over your hand or wear neoprene gloves for a while.

We all put vinyl wall papers or vinyl paint on the walls thus technically sealing ourselves in a plastic bag. That water has to go somewhere. It condenses on colder walls or in areas with poor circulation of air ie under stairs.

You are never going to stop condensation in our cold wet climate. Even the Romans cleared off after a while.

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Craig_W 4th November, 2015 @ 21:10

Hi All. im a new landlord and in may bought a new home and changed my previous mortgage to a buy to let and rented out my previous home of 3 years, a 2 up 2 down mid terrace. in that time I had very small mould spots in the bathroom ceiling only as there is no extractor. these were quickly cleaned off. now the tenant is complaining of mould in the bathroom and main bedroom. there has never been mould in the bedroom while i was in the property. its around the bottom of the windows and behind draws and wardrobes. everything ive read says this is condensation. ive explained this to my annoyed tenant and im getting an extractor fan installed in the bathroom on friday. he has said that he hasnt used the heating once since they have moved in but do try and have windows open, but sounds like only the bathroom, never the small front bedroom and not said how much in the main bedroom at the back of the house. he has agreed to use the heating and vent the house with the windows and "heat the garden" but whos to say that he will. he clearly thinks i need to do more but ive sent a roofer round and the roof and gutter are fine. what else should i do and do i need to clean the mould or tell him to as they are the cause? they have a 3 yo son and his partner is due next month. please help

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Mia 5th November, 2015 @ 01:09

Zetita, that WAS rude. I think everyone here is using straight talk , are speaking honestly, and respectfully. Emma and Nige are well informed and make valid points. It gets hard to express honest thoughts if someone is verbally abusive because they don't especially like what you are pointing out; respectful dialogue is important to meaningful conversation.

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Terry 5th November, 2015 @ 01:25

Michael , do be careful pursuing this legally. You need to be very sure about culpability, because once you place it in the legal system, it also opens you up to being found the responsible party. Then it surely will leave you financially responsible for damages. At this point, to be honest, if it were me, I'd just want to get out of there before your landlady, or whoever owns that property decides to pursue it themselves with you as the target for damages. It seems wrong to suggest that you leave this problem on the landlady to remedy and suggest you get yourself out of there ( I am aware that sounds bad), but it's just my thought. I'D be worrying myself if it were me. But then, I worry.

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Nige 5th November, 2015 @ 01:26

@Craig
you do realise that you are going to lose the wear and tear allowance and the mortgage is no longer going to be a tax deductible business expense.
Let you do the maths in your particular situation but if damage is being done to the property then you will find that you will have to rely on capital growth for long term investment.

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Patsy 18th November, 2015 @ 19:11

Honestly Michael i wish you luck. We had same issues with so much mould it clung to everything. We have a dog, so every half hour we'd be opening door to let her out....plenty of ventilation in other words. In winter it was freezing cold. Who in their right mind would have windows open??? Found out the place had been flooded about 10 yrs ago from the river Thames, but they lied and said it hadn't. Got council involved and env people, but they did nothing. Was totally ripped off when we left. Took every bit of our deposit even though it was in the dep scheme. They even said we had put up shelves when we hadn't. Worst stress ever! Took about a year to recover financially and emotionally. Fu**ing absolute asseholes those letting agents in Oxford.

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Patsy 18th November, 2015 @ 19:30

Forgot to mention, we too tried to leave early as we really were bothered about not just our health, but our dog's too. She has EPI which makes her have to go outside often to do her business and didn't want to aggravate it further. I'm not exagerrating when i say, EVERYTHING was mould infested. Even things like shoes. Chucked so much stuff out so we didn't have to bring mould infested stuff to next property. Cleaned everything with mould spray that we could. It wasn't normal mould either, it was like a greeny grey colour. We sent pics to dep scheme and the letting agents just said we hadn't ventilated. Couldn't prove we hadn't, so dep scheme took their side. You HAVE got to prove it isn't you causing it. So, just video yourself every day opening a window and ruining your life having this on your mind 24/7 just so you get your deposit back. Renters are not all fools. We rent because the property ladder is miles high. Of course we have windows open when cooking etc. Funny how the crappy downstairs toilet opposite utility room was NEVER used by us, but it had shed loads of mould, so how is that condensation? It was full of it. Good luck Michael. Buy a boat, we have. Going to live on it from now on. Get away from the ruthless landlords.

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David 21st November, 2015 @ 00:22

@Patsy

I have been through this, turned out to be a dodgy damp proof course and I had photos from outside to prove it, you need a surveyor (cost) to prove it and to provide an expert report mentioning lack of venilation bricks and sliders on windows or an ajar setting.

You can of course leave a bad review on All Agents website for the agent as well as on Google and other web properties (trip advisor, yelp etc).

Don't just mention the mould but how awful the agent was as doing inspections, staff useless or pathetic at best, would not trust with my garden shed never mind my property.

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Zoe 3rd January, 2017 @ 19:16

Ok here's one built in wardrobes no ventilation, built up against an external wall, windows open all the time even when I go out to work every day (yes security issues there). Mould everywhere all over my clothes every where the top of the cupboard is black against the external wall I have to clean it off daily. Who's fault is that tenant or landlord shall I ask the landlord to take them out? Clearly there is a big issue here which isn't the tenants fault if you build wardrobes up against an external wall you are asking for trouble. I hate the fact that you landlords really make tenants out to be second class citizens, we are people that go out to work everyday who pay your mortgage. We have a major housing crisis in this country and it doesn't help with landlords and agents constantly on our backs it is really stressful. All me and my family want to do is rent a property where we can treat as our own that we don't have to have inspections or invasions every 3 months, that we can have long term security more than a year and that we have the trust of the landlord. I have hated renting it is an awful horrible experience. Only problem is can't save for a deposit and earn too much for a council house. So forced in to the worst possible scenario - renting.

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David 4th January, 2017 @ 00:20

Hi @Zoe

So here is the thing; in the UK Landlords like to blame tenants for mould issues and at times they may not help but there are some things that you can check.

So first off you did not say what type of property it was, I would wager that it was a ground floor flat but it may also be a house with an external problem.

Mould is a living thing, it grows in moist environments but you have to get to the root of it before it is too late.

I lived in a property once that was riddled with mould, as with so many, it was a ground floor flat. Now I am not the kind of person to waste a landlord's time when I can fix something myself (as I did on my own property).

So at first I blamed myself, I killed it off with Tesco Value thin bleach (29p for 2l). The windows had an airing bar and I kept the windows in a secure ajar setting.

Still it kept coming back, It grew on the inside of all the external walls so I got someone to have a look if there was anything. It turned out to be the damp proof course, so of course it was a building issue.

Mould is a serious issue, in the US it can condemn a building because it can be inside the walls. Over there Landlords can get sued for a fortune because of the health issues it causes, Google sick building mold and you will see.

Other things you can look for externally are a leaking gutter pipe against the brickwork.

Now as a tenant you can look at the drying of cloths,

Nuking with thin bleach, tie a t-shirt around your nose and mouth, you really do not want to inhale these spores, then Consider mould paint AFTER you have got to cause.

I totally get why you are fed up, like so many in this country you are deprived from the housing market.

You might want to investigate part ownership via a housing association, many are doing this now and some have pulled out of social housing, opting for affordable (cough) housing.

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Nige 4th January, 2017 @ 02:22

Not all landlords treat their ''customers'' like second class citizens although you will find that on these blogs many tenants make themselves second class or even worse.

Your complaint falls into 2 catagories. Damp and your inability to afford the type of property you would like to live in.

We all have to cut our cloth according to our income and circumstances. Just because you cannot afford the house you desire does not mean you can go on a tirade about inspections (a common feature of lettings) or wanting to treat the property as your own. As I told one tenant if you want to pop up to your friendly bank and buy it please do so. Then you can be responsible for repairs etc. If not you are free to leave or stay as you see fit.

David has given you suggestions as to alternatives and remedies. I give my tenants advice on drying clothes etc.
My suggestion is that 2 things are happening in your property.
Firstly that damp occurs in closed spaces where air does not circulate very well. ie you keep the door closed. Open the door or remove the door completely. Secondly there is general moisture in a property caused by baths, cooking and breathing. Believe it or not an average family creates the equivalent of a bucket of water a day into the air. Its got to get out somewhere. Modern houses are so sealed that this is almost impossible.

Lastly and one thats rarely thought about is heating a house.
Warm air absorbs more water than cold air and some people prefer a warm to a cool house.

Go out on a frosty day and see the moisture condense from your breath. Thats the amount of water you expel with every breath indoors. Just because you cannot see it does not mean it is not happening.

So there are options for you to try like opening a window. Yes this costs as heat costs money. It costs EVERY householder.

You should treat the property as your home not as your house until as such time that you find an alternative which will be more permanent to your needs.
But finally. You do not pay our mortgages. You pay the costs of renting a property and these include a variety of expenses including loans. These loans provide you with a roof over your head which by your own admission you cannot get (for whatever reason) by yourself.

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David 7th January, 2017 @ 00:08

Some valid points @nige but as tenant has already explained they leave windows open which is more than adequate for a normal property.

It is clearly the property that has the problem, of course there is the option of not breathing.

Of course she is paying her clients mortgage just as largest part of benefits is rent in private sector.

I had a client, lived in a house that cost landlord £160k, she was there for 11 years, paid £126k in rent, got into arrears when hubby died. Was evicted with £6k of arrears, house was sold at £305k. Landlord went after her for arrears despite her struggling, got a CCJ, added interest and legal costs to £12k, got it upgraded to HCEO at which point she did a Debt Relief Order and so Landlord got nothing.

They bought that house with proceeds from previous properties, they had no mortgage, property was left immaculate but they still were greedy in going after her.

So Landlord had £145k of profit on House sale plus £126k rent profit which is £271k, they could have written off the £6k but their greed cost them.

Even if they had a mortgage it would be the tenant paying it, how often on here do we hear landlords bleating they can't service their mortgage without rent or during voids.

In my experience 90% of the time it is the building not the tenant. A few months ago saw a place where the builders did not plumb in a ground floor drain from kitchen, all waste water went into foundations and from there grew the nastist mould I have ever seen, went right up the block following water pipes. There were 7 other identical blocks, none had any mould at all.

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David 7th January, 2017 @ 00:10

@Nige

Heating is particularly good tip, the fact that people can't afford to heat doea make mould issue worse.

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Nige 7th January, 2017 @ 00:43

@David

Tenants making comments on the state of property is all very well. But as you know Govt policy is about to screw landlords with reference to mortgage relief and repairs via the taxation changes.

I do not condone a building where repairs are not carried out but demands for improvement can push the boundaries.

Not a landlord any more but I do look after a couple of properties.

One example ..a long story how she conned the tenancy that I won't go into full details of but basically the ex husband was the sole tenant. He buggered off and gave ..yes gave the ex wife the property and she moved in without informing the landlord.

Been quite a good tenant but on a rent that is around 100 a month below market value. 600 instead of 700.

The landlord has a mortgage on the property. In the past year she has blown up 2 built in ovens , had a new front door fitted due to locks not holding any more due to constant bashing in when forgotten keys and a brand new boiler.

So with these plus mortgage payments the landlords ''profit'' is nudging the zero mark.

Now there is pressure to have a new bathroom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the existing one. That has been verified by several inspections by various people.

Changes to repairs and mortgage relief will mean the landlord will run at a loss. The tenant is on DHSS so rent cannot be screwed up.

Landlords are NOT part of the social system. So with the changes the landlord is about to evict the tenant.

Why keep a tenant in a property when you can cash in, buy a renovation project and make far more than renting ??
I think that the taxation changes will backfire totally and that many landlords will do just what I am doing and so are all the landlords I know. Buying..renovating..selling.

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David 7th January, 2017 @ 09:13

@Nige

I totally agree with you about taxation changes, it goes against the whole policy of increasing housing supply. It was a trick by now defunct Osbourne, I would love to do the same thing to his £7m offshore tax fund (from Daddy's wallpaper biz).

I used to play cricket with a guy that used to smash stuff up to get insurance pay outs, sounds like that tenant is the same.

Boiler's are part of the investment but you need to teach some tenants how they work. Have it as a test to prequalify as a tenant!

I do not know why private landlords have to provide an oven and white goods when housing associations do not. If you do not supply it you do not have to fix it.

Also nothing says you have to replace with new, go to freecycle or gumtree. Always have a spare appliance if you are going to rent.

Once a tenant sees they are not getting new for old they will stop that game.

Another thing you see in social housing is industrial strength doors, toilet seats and floors that are hard as nails. If they want to carpet it they can.

The tenant does the decor too they just pay for the paint.

I think you may be right about development, I think if you are starting over it is best to use a company but if you are an existing landlord you are pretty much screwed by new tax and other legislation.

The most stupid thing is that Landlords will pass on costs, rents will go up, if rents go up LHA rates go up, if LHA rates go up so does Housing Benefit and thus the cost of welfare.

I think your managed tenant would be better off in Social Housing, they do not take any shit but are socially responsible and cheaper too. So in her case is she has kids or is vulnerable an S21 is a favour. If not she is going to have a hard time and may end up being shipped off to an armpit like Hull, still is the city of culture 2017, Hull and Culture, now that is an oxymoron.

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Nige 7th January, 2017 @ 10:12

@David
Its social engineering by the back door and like the immigration policies the load has been transferred to people least qualified to manage it.

Ref Gumtree etc. Yes my garage if full to the brim with car boot taps etc. Once this current house is renovated this stock will diminish !! Summer car boot sales here I come !!

Rents here have been hit with a baseball bat. Housing associations are building houses like mushrooms. Most of these houses are however going for sale as part ownership which of course if you read my earlier posts I totally agree with. If a tenant has a stake in the property then they take more care.

Free items are not valued. I went through the same educational system as a lot of these vunerable tenants. I was subject to 15% mortgage rates when they had rents protected.
No handouts here. ALL the Dhss tenants I have ever had have fiddled the system in some way. There is vunerable and vunerable. Im vunerable !! At 68 my investment for my retirement fund is being erroded. My pension is a lot less than any one of my Dhss tenants received. My health is borderline. But here I am repairing the mess that a 35 year old (who ''claims; they are disabled) left and its at my cost. Disable ? Neighbours have videos and evidence and are up in arms over the benefits she received but nobody listens.

I see Finland or Norway is trying a social experiment. 600 quid free gift to a lot of unemployed to see what they do with it. It is now being muted that all citizens should get a basic payout.

For figures sake say 5000 a year. Work as much as you want but tax will be at a high rate say 50%. Dont work and your basics will be provided. Want to get on then again your basic safety net is there. Why I should only get 115 a week state pension after paying into the system for 40+ years and one of my single parents got 465 a week plus free house and reduced council tax beats me. Especially as they never worked a day in their life.

Its no wonder that all landlords I know are pulling out and selling. Social engineering by the back door.

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Jill 7th January, 2017 @ 12:35

@David,

"just as largest part of benefits is rent in private sector."

No it isn't, far more goes to social landlords. About £5Bn more.

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Nige 8th January, 2017 @ 10:45

@David

PS have you seen the standard of decorating by tenants?
Akin to the skills that they learned at kndergarden. Poster paint colours,cutting in with a roller that catches the ceiling, wallpaper where the patterns are not matched up and usually a huge pattern in dark colours.
No wonder landlords stipulate NO DECORATING !!

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Bill 8th January, 2017 @ 21:01

"PS have you seen the standard of decorating by tenants?"

But! But! But! Its their 'uman rights innit!

Every tenant should have the right to express themselves with multi coloured cack handed daubs on walls and greedy landlords should be forced to smile and say how lovely it all looks -and then pay to have the walls skimmed and redecorated free of charge at the end of the tenancy.

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David 8th January, 2017 @ 21:11

@Jill

Sorry I think you did not understand the context, I said

"Of course she is paying her clients mortgage just as largest part of benefits is rent in private sector."

and what I meant was that the largest part of HER benefits, hence the benefits cap, so if someone lives in London, works the min hours to get child tax credit, child benefit, housing benefit etc, the amount she has to actually live on is tiny with the majority of HER benefits going to the landlord.

If we are going to talk about the largest welfare costs, then 65% goes on the elderly, which is why the cuts are hardly making a difference.

The Gov is pushing for housing associations to merge or die, I know some are pulling out of social housing completely because the Gov has screwed them on the obligation of developers to provide 20% "social" housing. At the same time they are trying to bring in the right to buy the social housing they own. This is a flawed strategy because they can't replace them.

Social housing meets the needs of very low paid, single mothers and vulnerable people. The affordable housing is not affordable at all.

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David 8th January, 2017 @ 21:16

Paints are from an approved set of colours, the idea is to give the tenant "buy in" so they are less likely to trash the place. It does not matter because the HA just fills holes and makes good repairs, it does not decorate, provide curtains, provide carpet, provide shower curtains, provide white goods or a cooker.

I know a lot of people here just have contempt for tenants, they probably think they are lords, their best option is to get out and invest in Buy2let cars or a mutual tracker fund.

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David 8th January, 2017 @ 21:46

Hey @Nige

They did that social experiment in Australia, gave every household a wad of cash, they spent it on Chinese tat, mostly big TV's. So did not help economy of Oz.

In Cuba everyone gets the same "ration" of food and clothing, milk vouchers for kids, if people do not work they have a basic life, pay is about $20 a month for most. Some find "power" by doing important jobs and others find opportunities to make money on side by stealing from the state (until recently all shops were run by the state) but they all sorts, pickers will steal food and sell it and cement truck drivers will steal cement. They over tax businesses to the point where it is not worthwhile, a B&B pays as if fully occupied every night as does a restaurant.

Nige, what would you say your hourly rate is, surely £100 per hour right? So if you spend 6 hours at a car boot sale you are £600 down plus the entry fee before you break even never mind make a profit.

Give the stuff away on Freecycle or put it on Gumtree or eBay at a fixed price. Car boot sales are for those who do not value their time.

Your 40 years of contributions did not actually cover the state debt for the same period, it did not cover the roads or the NHS, decisions were based on NEED. The same applies to the single mum in your example, the provision is made for children not the mum.

They are not the only people that gain from benefits and tax credits, many businesses build their workforce pay around tax credits, they limit the hours so that people get tax credits and trap them. It is essentially a subsidy to companies to pay less.

Look the reality is that we are all hamsters on a wheel, we fall into line, run on the wheel thinking we actually get somewhere. We are taxed when we earn, when we spend, when we travel, when we insure. when we save or invest and when we die.

Our public spending issue could be solved by simply taxing the likes of vodafone with their £6bn tax fiddle and their avoiding tax on £84bn after selling stake in Verizon.

Everyone is running on that wheel thinking they can be financially independent, but even those that did as they were told (as you did) are finding they are coming up short.

The pitchforks are coming!

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014

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Nige 8th January, 2017 @ 22:53

@David
A HUNDRED POUNDS AN HOUR ?
Is that what you really think people earn ?
You earlier said that landlords had a degree of greed by making a profit on rents and if the tenant didn't pay they took them to court.
My plan, however flawed, was to invest in property paid for by net tax wages. Property was bought and yes it increased with time plus I built a favourable rental business out of it.
It was going to be my pension.
Yes I grafted. 2 full time jobs for a total of 13 years paid for my ''fund''
Scuppered in 2007/2008 where half my investment vanished in divorce. Ah well.
OH no help here then. No oh dear we will give you a house etc.
Then a heart attack. No help here with paying my mortgage or rates (council tax)
Then into hospital again . Nope no help.
I had to fund my daughter through uni. No help here.
So eventually I hope that my retirement fund will be my property so the Govt ups the CGT to 28% because it makes selling profit the same as wages and taxes at 18% instead of the 12% my liability would have been.
So I live on a total of 1080 pounds per month consisting of state pension and an old accrued employment pension. The rest comes out of my profits for property sale.
No other benefits except the usual NHS ones.

THEN 2 DHSS tenants force me to gut and virtually rebuild the properties using my pensions and what I did not piss up the wall.

There seems to be critisism of the elderly in our last post getting most of the benefits.
If like me they saved the fruits of their labours hoping for a better old age then there is virtually ZERO help.
If you are taken into a home they make you pay. If you die they bang you for inheritance tax.

So here I am at nearly 68 years old clearing up the shit from much younger people at a cost to my health, the depletion of my reserves, the clearing of my pension income to pay for repairs done by yours truly who does not get paid for my labours.

SO exactly who are these people who need help.
The ones who pissed every penny up the wall when I studied at college? Who bought new cars and furniture while I invested ? The tenants who buy cannabis instead of paying their water bills . (Ive had 3 of those)

Next time I come into this life I will get as rat arsed as I can because if you are diagnosed as an alcoholic you get more in additional benefits than I get in state pension.

So yes my odds and sods will be on car boot sales as the rest of my money has been drained by feckless bastards who stand up in court saying they have no money.

Oh 100 pounds an hour.??????

I admitted I was a landlord and now with no tenants I am a nobody.
Exactly what position do you hold thinking that I could possibly earn 100 an hour. Yes you did say you had clients so in what capacity ?

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Bill 8th January, 2017 @ 23:37

"It does not matter because the HA just fills holes and makes good repairs, it does not decorate, provide curtains, provide carpet, provide shower curtains, provide white goods or a cooker."

And for those tenants that want to move into a nicely decorated home, with curtains, carpets, white goods etc?
Are they to be dragged down to your one size fits all, Utopian lowest common denominator?
The Free Market might not be perfect but it sure beats the hell out of the alternative.

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David 9th January, 2017 @ 01:20

@Nige Nige Nige

Do not shoot the messenger but you prove my point about hamsters, you did all the things they told you to do and still got royally fucked up the arse.

You read the Daily Mail or similar and look for someone to blame, they will give you someone to blame every day of the week and that is what the Gov wants because as long as you are blaming people on benefits, the Disabled, Immigrants, Muslims, etc you are not blaming the Gov.

Now when I said £100 an hour it was about how much you value YOUR time, although there is no reason you can't earn that much or a whole lot more.

Average decent lawyer rates are £250 an hour, you are professional landlord, that brings together a bunch of skills from project manager, buyer, HR manager, finance manager and more.

The internet is a great leveller, there is no reason why you could not offer property management services and manage tenants (I think you even said you started doing this for others). You just need to aim HIGH.

Based on your posts on this forum, I would rather have you managing my property than a letting agent.

You have not followed that pitchforks link have you! See how much HE earns!

The greed I was referring to was when they had made excellent profit and went after a tenant (who had completely funded their mortgage) for a shortfall when they fell on hard time.

However, there are also market forces; rent is not the only source of profit, the value of the investment increases. Ask the foreign buyers, they leave their properties empty. There is nothing wrong with profit, as much as the market will bear, what is wrong is the shortage of housing.

The problem is imbalance, some people earn £7.20 an hour, some immigrants are paid £7.20 an hour for a 24 hour week but end up working 40 hours with no extra pay. At the same time some immigrants share 10 to a room when they first arrive. Meanwhile people earn millions or billions which is fine by me, but they avoid or evade tax, when others can’t

When your politicians use tax avoidance or evasion you have to conclude "if you can't beat em join em", an offshore company costs under £2k with an annual cost of between £500 and £1000.

Now with property the UK is not really a good market unless you are buying at the top end £1m plus because the ratios are fucked. You can get better returns in other countries.

Yep you grafted but the mistake you made was doing 2 jobs, instead of that you should have used each property to fund a second and third but not stopping there. Look at Trump, he got burned using his own money, then he used other people's money.

Now with any business you have to turn it into processes, then get those processes done at the lowest possible cost. Read a book called "emyth revisited" and it will explain how and how to create virtual roles with job definitions so you can employ people as soon as you can afford it. Read the 4 hour work week to discover how to assign some of the virtual roles to virtual assistants offshore.

Your divorce was just a fact of life, she needed a pension too!

A good mate of mine lost everything a few times, pension was his company but his biz partner lost it all. He contracted out of serps and his fund is worth so little that he will live off pension credits (benefits for pensioners). He had similar health issues to you, actually worse, difference is he does not blame others.

Local authorities do not help single people without dependents, I have even seen them push kids into social care and put mother (a nurse) on the street.

People who get "a house" only get the bedrooms they need and all modern social tenancies see them forced to trade down as soon as kids are 18. Tenancies are 1 year probation followed by 5 years then they review if you need those bedrooms. You are only "safe" in a 1 bed flat.

The official line for hamsters is “As a home owner and property investor one would expect you to have insurance to cover illness and lack of income. You did not need help paying mortgage because tenants were paying it. You could have got SSP either working for others or as a director of your own company.”

You did not HAVE to fund your daughter through Uni, you chose to, now we have to PAY for education don't you know!! Work through Uni. Student loans landing them with debt.

Many pensioners live on a lot less than £1000 a month, a disabled person I know lives on £500 a month with rent paid. They have to choose to heat or eat as they can hobble more than 20m so do not get mobility.

"SO exactly who are these people who need help."

Well there is the 48 year old coach driver who was hit by a truck and suffered brain damage, is like a 13 year old now. Has people come in and support him and managed by his parents in their 80's.

Or ex-military guy who can barely walk after injuries he sustained, he would rather top himself than be in a wheelchair. Did not go on benefits, got into massive debt, made homeless and picked up by homeless team when got a lung infection that nearly killed him. No alcohol, no drugs, a very strong mind but failing body.

Yes there are some single mums; most of them try to get back into work because it really is no fun trying to manage on benefits. A few abuse the system but it really is a tiny minority. Some have never been taught to budget, they do not have "common sense", e.g. they will buy a phone new or go to Bright House and not realise that they are being screwed. They could pick up everything they NEED off freecycle for free, just get a mate to help them collect it. They do not know how to budget for energy so they end up on pre-payment meters so pay more than everyone.

I do accept you were screwed on tax, you can bet that Tony Blair does not pay those rates because he structured his portfolio to avoid such tax. Your problem is you are attacking those that did not have your opportunity rather than those that screwed you.

It was not a criticism of elderly just the facts, they have access to up to 17 benefits, some could be means tested and given only to those who claim support for council tax. Remember the guy driving a Merc to the golf club on Panorama who said they would not dare go after the silver tops!! I think they paid their way, the only reason we have a funding crisis is public spending is because we turn a blind eye to tax avoidance or evasion. Plus the lack if testicles when it comes to ditching bad contracts like PFI. Speaking of the NHS, it is top heavy, you do not need over 400 boards of Directors along with all the non-jobs, but turkeys do not vote for Christmas. I would merge the boards 2 by 2 until I could get it under 20 and then down to 3 or 4. I would keep the clinicians (who do all the needed work), streamline the management.

It seems that you are rebuilding these properties for sale so it is an investment, you will get more for them than cost of repair, otherwise you would be better off selling them as they were. So you know what you are doing.

You are a decent bloke Nige but with your experiences I would have thought you would stop doing DSS tenants ages ago.

You are right that there was no point saving or performing any other hamster tasks that we are all told to do. You might as well move your money offshore and please poverty, cash in your pension and move it out of UK. I know of one guy who invented a gambling problem to get his cash out, used credit/debit cards at c a s i n o, cashed in chips.

Yep save up all your life for what? So you can leave your daughter a bit better off than you started with? NO, so you can fund your stay in a care home for £5k a month while you are abused by Filipinos or other agency workers. Then when you have run out of money they move you to the Council only funded shithole till you die.

I WOULD RATHER END MY OWN LIFE ON MY TERMS THAN GO THROUGH THAT!!

Yep at 68 you are facing the reality of your situation.

Personally I would lace drugs with strychnine and release it into market to weed out those who use cannabis and other drugs. I have no time for them, if life is so bad you need the weed then change your life or end it.

A fair number of your undesirables are ex-cons and they get drugs too in and out of prison. In the US they would get life for 3 strikes rule (out of sight is out of mind).

Of course if you or they believe there is a next time into this life then it is just a computer game and they can restart any time.

You do not get more benefits for being alcoholic, they tend to be put on a programme to rehab, their home and benefits are dependent on them sticking to it. Again there is some abuse but whether people drink too much, or take drugs it is because there is something wrong with their life.

It was not the feckless bastards who drained your money it was the decisions you made or the Gov who scammed you on tax while they give themselves rises via their chums at IPSA.

As I said you could earn £100 an hour, just create a company (ideally offshore), define the services you will offer, create a website, market that site, palm off what you can to people that cost you less and get more customers.

It seems to me you have property management skills, you can fill the gap between the letting agent scumbags who will go out of business and the online agents. You can even use the online agents yourself on behalf of others.

You can offer consultancy services at way over £100 per hour.

You can help people structure themselves so they do not get stung by tax the way you were. You can help them get mortgages (as an introducer), while your company deals with all the headaches of managing property, correct legal paperwork, managing tenants, repairs, voids etc.

Or you go down to B&Q for a part time j.o.b. and stay on the hamster

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David 9th January, 2017 @ 01:23

@Bill

It is not my utipia, it was a response to someone complaining about tenants expecting a landlord to put 2 new ovens in.

Fact is a landlord that provides white goods can use them as a profit centre.

No issue here with free market, just saying how HA's avoid such issues but make less money because their tenants tend to be a bit rougher than your delightful Islington tenant!

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Nige 9th January, 2017 @ 13:16

@David

I moan not a lot. Quite honestly with 53 years of various working environments behind me I chose my direction in life. And life throws some curved balls at times.

Yes I worked and the only time I have been unemployed was for 3 days when an employer was not able to provide employment.

What I did however is to invest in myself. Yes I have professional qualifications. I gave up work and went back to get those qualifications at my cost. I have taught myself 1001 things from car mechanics to all the associated building skills to do with properties and repairs. Yes I have the skills to run property management and at one stage had 13 of my own. As said...property is the worst position to be in if getting a divorce . Especially so if an x decides to cash in the chips and for some god damn reason can clean you out even though they planned this.(long long story with documentation to substantiate )

In the past and I recovered.

As a worker I was once asked. ''You are working at the weekend whilst we are out enjoying ourselves..WHY?
My answer was simple. If you spend 20 pounds and I earn 20 pounds then by Monday morning I will be 40 pounds better off. Same sort of attitude I have when painting a house. If I can save the money by not paying a third party then my funds will be higher.

What I object to is the do gooders who support the feckless who know only to well that they can fcuk up and the safety net will save them.

Take my latest disaster. Goodish tenant but just before I evicted her the money she received by conning the system was as much as I made in profit as a landlord (from rents) when I had 6 houses. Effort on her part. ZERO. She was even given a motability car when she didn't have a licence.Yep lent it to a friend who also didn't have a licence who wrote off 3 other cars.
So I evict her. Did the council check the condition of the property before handing her another new ? Nope.

There are very few disabilities where you are unable to work. There are jobs which can be run from home with an internet connection and a phone. I had a tenant who ran a fleet of taxis from my home using this method.

I know people who have cars on motability who refuse ALL offers of work if its not on a bus route as they might not be able to go to work if it snows . FFS. Doesn't stop them travelling all over the place and complaining about the rush hour and saying it took an hour to get home. Forgetting of course that working people are suffering the same every single day with no choice.

The real victims are those who took the opportunities to better themselves to get a better life and get penalised for doing so.

The legal profession are unique. They make the rules and then charge to administer them. Yep 250 per hour. I know of a spurios legal claim by a DHSS tenant who has been offered 15k in settlement when their own lawyers (ambulance chasers) tell them that the best she could get in court is 7500. They didn't have a driving licence and were driving when the rest of us were working.(oh there goes my insurance premiums again).

I had another tenant (before the latest rules) who had the aim of having 7 children. They had a congenital condition which meant that 2 of the cost the NHS a fortune before they died. Human right to do this of course.

I do believe national insurance was set up to cover those who fell on hard times. It must be the only insurance policy that can be claimed upon without anyone in the family ever having to pay a single contribution.(for 3 generations in some cases)

As said I am happy for a social safety net to exist but not at the expense of others. How many of us remember the introduction of the gift of 250 to newborns. (later 500) . Parents were meant to top up. The fruits of not doing this are now evident as 18 year olds get little in the way of benefits.

My brother runs a company with 140 employees. He is required to provide a pension scheme. I think the figures are 3,5,or 8 percent of income. The take up is marginal so if the employees reach retirement age (whatever that will be in the future) will they fall back on the social system ?

Minimum wage. Only increased to ensure that all employees pay national insurance (as well as employers).

Moan moan moan. Not really. Due to investment in myself and forward planning my life is comfortable. I paid for my house even though mortgage rates hit 15% at one stage. I weathered a downturn in income and could just as easily had my house repoed if I had not paid my mortgage on time. And under current rules there would have been little help as I would have deemed myself homeless.
Not the same for DHSS I'm afraid. Always help for them.

And for landlords like me the nail in the coffin has been the fact that full council tax is payable on a property damaged and needing repair by feckless bastards. The feckless bastards got a council tax reduction !!! Whoopee dooo.

Oh and as for your friend with 500 plus housing. That must equate to about the same as I get. And no doubt gets enough to live. Remember my pension is taxed as it is over the single persons tax allowance and I pay full rates(less single persons allowance). I am also liable for all repairs and insurance etc. So in effect I am probably worse off.

The system is the system and so its really at the back of my mind as I struggle to repair this property so that my latter years can be in a degree of better comfort. Nope not a Daily Mail or newspaper reader and Im not an avid watcher of the news !!
Why do I want other peoples problems when there are enough people who didn't invest in themselves trying to get me to solve theirs.

Must get back on the hamster wheel now !!!!

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Emily 9th January, 2017 @ 14:55

I open my windows every morning and don't dry washing in the house I have a tumble dryer with a pipe but I still get mould absolutely everywhere! I have an extractor fan in the kitchen. My land lord obviously is blaming me but how else do I get rid of it if I already do all those things?

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The Landlord 9th January, 2017 @ 16:36

@Emily
Hmm sounds like the issue is deeper rooted than on the surface. Do the walls feel constantly damp?

Also, do you completely kill the mould before it starts growing back? Because if you leave traces of mould behind, it will just continue growing/spreading spores...

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Jules 13th February, 2017 @ 17:52

My tenant has left and there are a number of items including mound evident around the bedroom window only and surrounding walls a little. I have double glazing which was installed in 2014 throughout and has ventilation slit that should be open was closed upon upon inspection when the inventory was undertaken. Photos taken. The mound is not substantial but it is there, I'm not sure if I have a claim if I can clean it off myself and whether I need to decorate the small areas it is evident around the sill and under near the heater. I'm about to pull together a list of items and costs from repairs/replacement and intend to include the mound as it would appear that they have not ventilated the room and the vent was closed. Not sure how much I can claim - maybe just the mound remover solution and time to clean before my next tenant? The deposit is with the DPS so I guess it will go through the deposit disputed resolution process. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks

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Alicia 3rd September, 2017 @ 13:28

Moved into a property which has bedroom on the roof. Bedroom has 4 walls exposed and shed like roof. We complained when water came in and mould showed how our bed had warped from the moisture. Landlord sent faulty towers builder team to paint over roof and never bothered painting over the inside mould. Additionally gutter pipe on the side leaked so much that flat below bathroom was flooding (it travelled through the walls/floor) I've had mould testing done and its toxic. whats the case?

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David 3rd September, 2017 @ 14:10

@Alica

Involve the local Council (both environmental health and housing officer), is that your only bedroom, sounds like not fit for accommodation.

Make sure that they realise it is not your standard query about mould but rather what seems to have been a bolt on building that may or may not be legal.

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Alicia 4th September, 2017 @ 09:37

Thank you - good thinking I've contacted the council and had an acknowledgement it's been a week and no actual visit. I should add I pay £500 a week which is not cheap! I'm moving out but want to claim back damage to goods and some rent.

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Alicia 4th September, 2017 @ 09:41

I think I was concerned as most posts here imply it is tenants fault and even the tenancy agreement I signed makes tenant responsible for mould. The problem is it's been caused by water damage from shoddy roof even more shoddily repaired when I reported it and a pipe which has caused damage even 2 floors below... I'd like money back but this site has made me concerned that tenants can be responsible for mould. I should add the reason(I now know) the landlord is being so laissez faire is he is going for planning and plans to knock it down and build more flats over it hence he really doesn't care how dilapidated things become and just plans to collect rent, do no repairs and go for planning and build (this explains why he takes no care of the property)

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David 4th September, 2017 @ 09:44

@Alicia

Most Councils will just send a leaflet if you report mould, you need to escalate it.

If "shed" looks recently built, you might want to look at Council records for planning permission for the property, perhaps involve building control, make sure fire regulations are adequate.

If you had an AST rather than being a lodger you might want to check Landlord protected your deposit (see pages on this site).

I would speak to Council express that this is a serious matter, also speak to housing officer.

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David 4th September, 2017 @ 10:01

@Alicia

Yes this is a Landlord site and the crowd would like to "blame the victim" but that does not make it right. In the US there is a thing called "sick building" and massive law suits once a building is infected.

Don't get me wrong, tenants need to play their part, open windows when safe, every day I open my bathroom window after I shower, I open french doors when I wash clothes and am drying inside.

I think a lot of mould grows from damp proof course but is not treated in conventional way.

Your situation is really rather obvious from what you have stated. We know if you put a sofa or a bed up against an outside wall you can create a pocket of air that helps mould grow, all it needs is moisture. If you have poor roof and leaking gutters it is not surprising.

I know a Housing authority who had to rehouse a client because of it, it took them a month with a huge machine in each room to take the moisture out of the walls. They then treated it and killed the spores, the tenant moved back in and he had to paint the property, which is normal in HA, but they contributed. I spoke to him on another matter a year later and was mould free.

Tenancy agreement term would be void, under common law you cannot shift your liability for negligence like that. It would be considered an unfair contract term and if does not have severability clause could invalidate the whole contract.

Well you can contact the Council about his fitness to be a Landlord if he has this attitude about repairs.

I would not hold out much hope for a refund of rent but you could approach the Landlord.

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Alicia 4th September, 2017 @ 11:04

Thank you David you've been extremely helpful. I can move out on one months notice (which I will do) however it's annoying to pay rent when I've already left because I was getting sinusitis and headaches - that and a comment by my cleaner is what got me to look into mould and get it tested! Ideally I would like to be restored to the same position:

Ie reimbursed for
Mould testing Costs
Mattress and bedding x 2
Health tests for me and acupuncture
Back rent
Days off work (I only get paid the hours I work)

In terms of a tenant I've been outstanding I have a cleaner twice a week, am hardly home, eat out mainly, had a Marie kondo expert help me organise the apartment and keep it immaculate!

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David 5th September, 2017 @ 20:14

@Alicia

The only way you can really claim those is by relating them to the Landlord's responsibilities in the Contract.

You can withhold your rent, have him take legal action and issue a counter claim, or just make a claim against him in the small claims court, keep it under £10k

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Hayley 31st October, 2017 @ 09:30

Hi guys - long term lurker, first time commenter here! Just looking for a wee bit of advice :)

Fiancé & I have just moved into a rental property, got the keys on Saturday. There's a multitude of things wrong with it which I won't go into, but there are patches of mould in the bathroom and on some of the windowsills. The windowsill issues are due to the windows not being sealed correctly in their frames, in some instances they are actually coming away from the wall completely.

When we viewed the property we noticed the patches of mould in the bathroom but assumed that these would be rectified before a tenant moved in. So when we've collected the keys this weekend and noticed the mould still there with no action having been taken to remedy, we were pretty unhappy.

My question is: were we wrong to assume that the mould would be dealt with and do we have any grounds to ask the landlord/letting agent to rectify?

For context, it's a terraced house with an en-suite conversion, the letting agent manages the property in full.

Thanks :)

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David 31st October, 2017 @ 10:16

@Hayley

They say that to assume makes an ASS out of U and ME, you were wrong to assume if you did not raise it at the viewing.

However, it is a health hazard and your first action should be to report it to the local council to avoid revenge eviction (Deregulation Act 2015).

They you need to tell the agent that there is a health hazard and you require them to deal with it and it's cause.

I would give them a reasonable deadline, a list of works required, e.g. to fix the window, treat the mold, seal the affected areas, redecorate.

Once work done you will need to keep on top of room to see if it is coming back.

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Hayley 31st October, 2017 @ 10:40

@David

Thanks for replying so quickly! We did mention it to the letting agent at the viewing though we didn't get any real solid confirmation (written or verbal) that it would be dealt with. I know we probably shouldn't have assumed but it just seemed like common sense? Potential error on our part, I admit. Then when we collected the keys it was just listed as part of the inventory around the condition of the property rather than actually remedied. I've told my other half I'm happy to deal with it myself when I'm off work but he's convinced it should be the landlord/agent dealing with it.

As I mentioned there are loads of issues with the place that weren't noticed on first viewing (including 3 of the properties 6 radiators having rusted so badly there are gaping holes underneath, leaving us unable to heat 3 rooms....) and I just don't want to push the agent/landlord too far with repairs before we've even been in the place a week!

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David 31st October, 2017 @ 11:22

@Hayley

It sounds as if the property is not fit for occupation if the radiators do not work then you can't heat the property.

I would get a call into the Council in the first instance, note you do not want the environmental health team who will just assume you made the mold and send you a leaflet. You want the housing team, they may have an file on the Landlord on record.

Once that is done then make a snagging list, tell the agent that if the work is not carried out within 28 days you will consider getting your own contractors to remedy the faults as they are serious health issues and hold their client liable for the costs.

For now you can choose to withhold rent until they have confirmed they are getting the work remedied. If you do that
let the deposit protection company know as well so that if there is a dispute later it is on record.

Also send an email with receipt request and cc to yourself that the condition of the property does not match the inventory.

It is important to have an accurate inventory and for tenants to make it very clear on entry any things not mentioned in inventory or else they could say you did them.

If the deposit has not been protected yet, wait until 30 days have passed and if not protected by then you may be able to take action against them in the future.

It may be that this is a sloppy agent rather than Landlord, but time will tell, some landlords do not want to invest in their property and use agents as a buffer.

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Hayley 31st October, 2017 @ 12:05

@David

Thanks so much for your advice, will see how it goes! I personally don't think we're being unreasonable so I'm hoping we get something sorted soon

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James 9th November, 2017 @ 07:45

I vacated a student property in the summer that I had rented for two years. As with many student landlords (mine was a builder), an additional bedroom (which was allocated as mine) had been created by a stud wall partition which divided the former lounge. The bedroom that I was allocated was therefore on the ground floor and opened onto the lounge by means of a fire door. The bedroom did not have any windows or air vents, but it did have a patio door with louvre blinds actually fitted to the internal side of the glass. The only means of ventilating that room was to open the patio door: not a practical solution to leave an external door open to the world either at night when sleeping or during the day - for fear of entry of rodents, the neighbourhood's cats or burglars! Whilst I did my best to remove the black mould which kept building up on that patio door, the louvre blinds which were fitted to that door and which did not pull away from the glass made it very difficult to clean off. I did not link the respiratory symptoms I developed whilst at university to the problem in my bedroom and it was not until a medical family member of one of the other tenants came to the property towards the end of the tenancy that the link between the black mould and my health problems, and moreover the lack of a practical means of ventilating my bedroom and barriers to cleaning away the black mould were identified by them.

At the start of the tenancy, the landlord had just completed some building works: the front garden was full of rubble and other building debris which he took months to clear. The back garden was not manicured either and neither did the landlord manicure the grounds when he removed the rubble from site. We left the house extremely clean and tidy on leaving so the agent could find very little reason for making deductions from our deposit. Whilst we had cut the grass however, the landlord decided to invoice us for weedkiller and for his time in applying this, despite the fact that the weed growth at the end of tenancy was minor and it was certainly no different to what it was at the start of tenancy. There were some charges which we could not argue with although all of these jobs were charged at around £60 per hour (e.g He charged for cleaning the Xpelair filter in the bathroom. He charged for replacing the cooker hood filter), but even with the unreasonable charges for weedkiller and also for touching up a couple of minor marks on the paintwork (we were presented with two close up pictures by the agent of these two minor marks) which really should have been classed as minor and fair wear and tear for a two year tenancy, we should have been set to get most of our deposit back. We are still waiting!

We have also had a catalogue of errors from the agent and whenever we have telephoned, there was never anyone "in that department" who was available to take the call. Emails have been frequently ignored.

It seems to me that some landlords and particularly landlords of student properties expect their tenants to tolerate everything and yet they deliberately go looking for reasons to extract more money at the end of tenancy (our agent even tried to blame things like discoloured wardrobes and drawers as "tenant damage" until we pointed out that the pictures he had taken at end of tenancy matched exactly the state of the discoloured (old) furniture at the start of tenancy as evidenced by their own inventory photographs at the start of tenancy!) Anyway it is now three months after our tenancy ended and they are still delaying the matter of returning our deposits. I suspect that many students don't clean houses as well as we did and that they are not used to giving people their deposits back. I also suspect that agents do not expect tenants to pursue things like delayed communication over deposits and instead do expect them just to give up, once they have moved on (miles away).

The landlord paid £173,000 for the property (an ex council house) in 2014 and was receiving rent of £15,000 a year from us. The four student tenants paid a deposit of some £1800.

Following this experience, my advice to every student would be to take their own pictures and document everything. Fortunately we have our own photographs and have kept emails etc and now the agent has now been given one week to reach a reasonable settlement with us.

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David 9th November, 2017 @ 14:41

@James

The health risks of mould are massive, I know someone who has a really bad respiratory problem after 2 years in a mould infested flat. In the USA there are whole buildings condemned (google sick building and see) as well as legal action for medical and other costs. The person I know is now so weak that he cannot work or even carry a single bag of shopping. He has pictures of the cause which was from a bad damp proof course but the Landlord promptly sold the property and is no longer a UK resident.

For your situation you may want to get a call into the Local Council Housing Dept and the Building Control Services Dept to have them view the property. Also let new tenants know and suggest they complain too.

The filters for the fan and oven are clear wear and tear items, you are spot on about the garden having to be in the same condition it was when it was given to you.

Not only that, the tenancy agreement must specify the obligation re the garden and it must not conflict with common law, especially their own obligations.

Your deposit should have been protected in one of the three Government approved deposit protection schemes; DPS, TDS & MyDeposits.

It is against the law not to protect a deposit on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in one of the three schemes and the penalty sanctions of up to 3x the deposit go to the tenants. They not only have to protect the deposit WITHIN 30 DAYS but also inform the Lead Tenant with the Prescribed Information, also within 30 days. You can check the links below to see if the deposit was protected and in time.

bit.ly/chkdep1

bit.ly/chkdep2

bit.ly/chkdep3

If you deposit has not been protected, post back on the page below:

http://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/i-havent-protected-my-tenants-deposit/

It is NOT the agent or the Landlord who decides the deduction, it is the deposit company.

When you leave the property you request the return of your deposit from the Deposit Protection Company and they contact the Landlord to ask them to make any representations for deductions, you are then given an opportunity to agree any deductions or dispute them, e.g. for wear and tear.

You can choose to have the deposit company as arbiter for deciding the deduction OR you can choose to take your Landlord to Court. If you allow the deposit company to arbitrate you cannot later take them to Court for that issue, but you always have 6 years to take them to Court for failure to protect deposit.

Although the Office of Fair Trading has been devolved into Trading Standards, their 2006 guide on unfair contract terms in tenancy agreement is practically a bible for decisions on these issues by both Courts and the deposit companies, you can download it at the following link:

bit.ly/oftguide

In addition to this the Landlord may have an unfair contract term if any term goes against common law. For example the requirement to mitigate your losses, this means that before a Landlord can hold you responsible for a loss they must have done all that is practical to reduce their losses before they blame you.

I hope you will see your complaint through, it is all part of weeding out bad Landlords and/or Agents who seem to feel that the deposit is a fund to finance their business.

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Tracey 14th November, 2017 @ 21:51

Wow!! What a forum, tons of factually incorrect on causes of mould, damp etc. Lots of ranting - Nige - grief!!!!

Please people, look elsewhere, never have I read such absolutely horrid rant's about tenants/ex tenant's.
Having been a private tenant for 13 years, and worked in property/construction, I have alsomseen both sides.
Some properties - due to construction/layout , simply lend to a poor envirinment & re,edial works may be appropriate. Some people do not ventilate or air a house properly & need to learn to exchange the air , ventilate and be sensible ref laundry drying , or other activities that cause vapour. Do your research people . Read about the dew point & study till it makes sense.
Landlords who refer to ex tenants as I have read on this forum, seriously the Landlord side - it aint perfect either, and many are charging ridiculous rental , for sub standard properties.

Having tomrebt privately, no-one really enjoys & can be an insecure way if life, made worse by problems in such properties - as mould, damp etc. Best advice - start with Dept Of Environment (Council), Property Chamber (PRH Panel previously), Surveyor or builder , offering free quotes or opinion. Declare concerns to Landlord & interact sensibly with. Stae your case & arm yourself with common sense help, forums like this do little in the real world, often cause people to worry or become aggressive.
Ranting about un-connected drivel, seems popular on here.
Living "normally", and not exacerbating a condensation problem (ventilate/open windows & remedy condensation when necessary), as I do- I still have high humidity & a damp feeling house (1950's semi/upper floor) , nkthing I can do more - like MANY on this site.

Belittling fellow human beings , ranting about tenants past, yakking about who/what you are, all kinda pointless - most people wanted sensible, practical advice- not read the riot act, literally.

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David 14th November, 2017 @ 22:15

@Tracey

I am a regular visitor here and I quite like the way people can speak their mind, bitch about nightmare tenants and landlords alike.

Thanks for your input on the mould, I hope it helps somebody.

I heard on radio last week that one of the factors in the current austerity economy is that people cannot afford to heat so the damp air is ideal for mould growth.

Also if you have paid to heat a place the last thing you want to do is open a window, ideally the property should have proper ventilation bricks or ducting for bathrooms without windows.

I have a nephew who moved into a housing association flat a few years ago, it had been riddled with mould, he complained to the HA but they said "yes it DID have mould but we have treated it, you can now paint over it" he did that, he used anti mould paint as a barrier in the places where there had been mould then painted over with eggshell (at the request of the HA).

I spoke to him last week and asked him about the mould, he said it has not returned, just a little on the cavities where the bath seal filler has been put at the base on the tiles over grouting.

So it seems that if you treat a property properly and put the right preventative measures in place you can get on top of it if it has not gone too far.

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